“Organisational changes” at Disney Interactive have seen Texas-based Epic Mickey developer Junction Point close its doors for good. Studio founder Warren Spector has also left his job as VP of Disney Interactive, announcing via social media that he is an “unemployed job seeker”.
The official statement from Disney Interactive explains why the job cuts were necessary:
It was with much sadness that we informed our teams today of changes to our Games organization, which include the closure of Junction Point Studios. These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities. We’re extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2.
…what the statement doesn’t touch on is the disappointing performance of Disney Epic Mickey 2, believed to be a deciding factor in the studio’s closure. Sales of the sequel fell well below expectations when it was released in November, crushing Spector’s plans for a third game in the series.
Junction Point was founded in 2004 by Spector and Art Min. Three years later, in 2007, the studio was acquired by Disney Interactive, which lead to the release of debut title Epic Mickey, for Wii in 2010. In late 2012, Epic Mickey 2 hit shelves, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, Wii U, PC and Nintendo DS. Unfortunately even this blanket platform approach wasn’t enough, with the game reportedly selling just 270,000 copies in two months, around a million lower than its Wii-exclusive predecessor.
This is at least the third major restructuring of Disney Interactive‘s game development organisation in recent times – 2011 saw the closure of both Propaganda Games and Black Rock Studio, with an estimated 250 jobs lost over two years.